The Army and rebel Muslim peace negotiators have agreed to create a “safety zone” in the deep South and it is seen as a significant step forward to ending the bloody 13 year conflict.
More than 6,800 people have died in a rebellion waged by ethnic Malay militants in Buddhist-majority Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, a region known as the “Deep South”.
Talks held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur have staggered on for years, undercut by near-daily bombs, ambushes and assassinations in the Deep South and a decade of political instability in Bangkok.
The army has been talking with Mara Patani, an umbrella group that says it is a political wing representing the shadowy network of fighters.
The Thai side doubts the Mara’s ability to prod rebel footsoldiers into putting down their guns in an area where resentment against more than a century of Thai colonisation runs high.